My Li’l Garden

My Li'l Garden

Watch my garden grow…click on a link below.

You can do something to improve your life.  Something that will help lower your grocery bill, improve the health of you and your family and also help the environment at the same time.  Let’s face it.  Most of the fruit and vegetables you buy at the grocery store today come from Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela.  It amazes me that it is cheaper to ship vegetables from other countries than to buy it right here at home.  The problem is that there are not enough farms left in America to sustain the population.  Not long ago, farming was a major industry in the United States.  Now it is a very small and dwindling industry.  However, that doesn’t mean you cannot have fresh fruits and vegetables.  When Mexico grows vegetables, in order for them to survive shipping they are picked when green.  This to me, presents a big issue.  Vegetables and fruits should be allowed to grow naturally and ripen naturally.  They should be picked and eaten or packaged and stored when they are at their peak of ripeness.  They will taste better and they will more than likely have more nutrients than ones that are picked before they are ripe.  There is nothing better than taken a basket to the garden and picking fresh veggies for dinner.  How can I say you can help the environment?  Plants breath carbon dioxide.  I believe a big reason we are facing the air quality problems we do today is because we have gone from having a huge farming industry to having almost none.  We simply are not growing the crops anymore the way we did even 20 years ago.  That is a lot of plants that were literally filtering the air for us that no longer do.  I am not saying this will totally cure the problem, but it certainly can’t hurt.  Seeds are very cheap to buy and with a little tender loving care, you will have a huge bounty of veggies for a minimal investment.  It will certainly be considerably less than buying the veggies at the store.

It does require some time and a little effort, but it is something that the entire family can become involved in and will benefit everyone.  Plant some veggies.  It doesn’t take a lot of space and you do not need a huge garden to grow them.  You will benefit in numerous ways.  First, it will make you more self sufficient.  Growing your own vegetables is healthy, rewarding and extremely cost effective.  It is very cool to watch how fast they grow.

I decided to do an experiment this year.  I am growing vegetables in containers.  Our soil here in Florida is so horrible it is very difficult to get anything to grow in it except weeds.  It is what we call sugar sand, very fine and void of any nutrient value at all.

I decided to plant a container garden.  First because of the soil problem and 2nd because we live in Florida and you never know when a hurricane or tropical storm will hit.  Both will kill a crop in a heartbeat.  With the containers, I can move them into the house and out of the damaging winds and rain.  Next I had to decide what kind of containers to use.  Because we want to reuse as much as possible, I had several 3 gallon plant containers from years ago that I decided would make perfect containers for green beans, wax beans and peas.  We have a friend that owns a pool service company and he gets his chlorine tablets in 5 gallon buckets, some are tall and skinny and some are short and fat.  He is bringing them to me instead of throwing them away and they make perfect containers for larger plants, like corn.  I also had some planter boxes laying around the garage, so I decided they would be perfect for herbs, spices and radishes.

We also discovered that the compost I had made in the composter and used to transplant my tangelo and my hybiscus trees had sprouted several tomato plants.  (remember all those free tomatoes I got last year and made spaghetti sauce and canned tomatoes from?  Well, I put all the leftover tomato pieces in the composter and apparently they got very happy in there!  So we had 8 tomato plants growing in my hybiscus container!)

We had a store credit at Home Depot that we needed to use and decided there was not a better use for it than to start our garden.  I made a list of what we would need and away we went.

Our list

  • Composted Cow Manure
  • Top Soil
  • Per-lite
  • Vegetable Fertilizer
  • Seeds
  • Seedlings
We got 6 bags each of composted manure and top soil, a bag of vegetable fertilizer, two bags of per-lite, and John found Topsy Turvy Tomato Plant Growers for $4.97 each, so we got a few of those.  We then looked for plants and seeds and we got these:
Seedlings:
  • Rosemary
  • Sweet Basil
  • Pickling Cucumbers
  • Silver Queen Corn

Seeds:

  • Cilantro
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Radishes
  • Tenderbush Green Beans
  • Tenderpick Green Beans
  • Wax Beans
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Iceburg Lettuce
The seedlings were in very small peat containers, so we needed to transplant them as soon as possible.  We mixed 1/2 and 1/2 the top soil and composted manure and added enough perlite that you saw several white specs to improve drainage and keep the soil from getting too compact.  We filled the topsy turvy lanters and put a tomato in the bottom.  The corn seedlings (3 inches tall) went into three gallon containers to start.  I germinated some green bean and pea seeds in coconut palm pods.
9/14/11
I had a small flower garden in front of our front door that really was nothing more than 2 chefelera plants that we both hated.  We decided to utilize that space and make a little garden in there.  John dug out the plants and cleaned the sugar sand out and I added 3 bags each of composted manure and top soil.  I made three rows and planted lettuce in the back row, tender pick green beans in the middle and carrots in the front.  We should see seedlings emerging in 7-14 days.
As of today, we have 5 tomato plants, 3 silver queen corn (1 got some kind of bugs and died), 2 pickling cucumbers, 3 sweet basil plants, 1 rosemary plant, a container of cilantro, a container of oregano, a container of parsley, a container with radishes, 4 tender bush green bean plants, 5 pea plants that are growing like gangbusters.  I have sowed ice burg lettuce, carrots, tender pick green beans, and wax beans and am awaiting their emergence.  I have 1 pea plant that may not make it as a Caterpillar found it quite tasty.  I checked it this morning and it may make it, as it has a new leaf forming.
Living in Florida makes it difficult to grow completely organically.  We breed hybrid bugs here and they are in abundance.  With no cold to slow or stop population, it is difficult to grow without using some kind of insecticide.  We decided to use what we used on our gardens when we were growing up which is good old seven dust.  It kills 65 kinds of bugs and pests and helps keep the plants bug free and healthy.  Even if you don’t use insecticide, ALWAYS thoroughly wash plants when you harvest them before eating, cooking, canning or freezing.
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2 Responses to “My Li’l Garden”

  1. Updating « Off the Grid & Countryfried Says:

    […] of the progress.  My favorite is the corn, as it has grown like crazy.  Please click here on My Lil’l Garden to view […]

  2. Off the Grid & Countryfried Says:

    […] My Li’l Garden […]


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